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Writing History & Mysteries

When I'm not delving into historical research, I'm planning a character's demise.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bread and Butter Murders 04

Hoag Family Plot - Alabama Center Cemetery, Alabama, NY
SETUP: Last time we left off with Polly's sister Julia insisting it was Polly's husband, Henry, who wanted the arsenic to kill rats, not Polly. Julia also testified that it was Henry who mixed the poison in the meal and Polly was outside at the time and had no idea where Henry put the rest of it. We know this was not the case as Henry was sick for several days, Many friends came to visit him until they thought he had chorea. And now the snippet.

Henry was sick for ten days before he felt any better. Selah Vosburg testified he went to visit Henry only once for fear he had cholera morbus again and he knew it was catchy. Selah said he had known Henry for a long time and had never known him to be sickly, although he saw nothing odd in Polly’s behavior to make him suspect her of any wrong doing.

All had said they saw no lack of attention on Polly’s part towards her husband. It is our opinion that Polly did poison her husband, but not enough to kill him yet. She wanted all to believe that she was a devoted wife. Polly also wanted everyone to believe that Henry was a sickly man and would always be so. When she finally killed him no one would suspect a thing.

In 1856, in the rural town of Alabama, NY one woman's family suffered from multiple unexplained deaths. The town folk grew suspicious of the now remarried Polly Frisch. An investigation commenced, bodies were exhumed, an affair—exposed. Polly would be arrested for the murders of her first husband and daughters. Her fourteen-year-old son would testify against her. If found guilty, the punishment for such a crime was the gallows. Bread & Butter is the true story of Polly Frisch who poisoned her family with arsenic and the five trials it took to convict her. 

The link to the other Weekend Writing Warriors is here. You're bound to find something to pique your interest.

The Sunday Snippet writer's on Facebook are here. Between the two there is something for everyone. Thank you for any comments you leave me. Much appreciated!

The above excerpt is from Bread & Butter: The Murders of Polly Frisch, a book I co-authored with my friend, Ellen Bachorski in 2000. We are re-releasing it into the modern world of POD and Kindle, etc. with a new cover, fresh edits and new info. Due for release in February 2014.



  1. Nice snippet--the pieces are falling together.


  2. She gets points for subtlety!

  3. Wow, you delve into the devious mind of Polly with this snippet. She would have been in fact right if only ... ;-)

  4. I'm officially creeped out. Polly was a deceitful creature. *shivers*

  5. Wow, what a cold and calculating woman! I'm starting to see how it took so many trials to convict her!

    It must be fascinating, poking around in history like you do, Cindy! :-)

    Good 8!

  6. A shivery excerpt, Cindy. Wouldn't you have loved to be a fly on the wall in so many houses where Henry's death was discussed?

  7. Polly has a devious mind---and it's interesting to see how the men never thought a woman could think of things like this . . .

  8. If this was fiction rather than true crime, you'd be accused of writing something that couldn't have happened.

  9. Wow, chilling stuff. But very well depicted! Another excellent excerpt. Did you watch the Lizzie Borden movie last night? Also well done, kind of in this vein you write so very well...

  10. Intriguing. Look forward to reading more.

  11. Ha, Frank, that's funny : ) February is right around the corner! Looking forward to it!

  12. That's so terrifying! A lingering illness that someone intentionally caused...

    I wonder if she could have gotten away with it if she could fake emotion better?

  13. Good plan - curious to see if she got away with it

  14. Quite the devious plot! Polly was a clever woman, for sure. :)

  15. Sue and Frank, I agree. If this was fiction I'd probably get nailed as five trials being unbelievable.

  16. Patience is a very nice skill to have when murdering someone.


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Available in paperback and eBook formats

Available in paperback and eBook formats

Now Available At:

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The History Press

Carried by over 20 college/university libraries across the county, according to daily updates by worldcat.org, including Columbia University, Oklahoma State, Texas A & M, and Yale University Law Library.


APRIL 2nd,11-1 PM
The Book Shoppe - Medina, NY

APRIL 16th, 2 PM
Barnes & Noble - Pittsfield, MA

APRIL 19th, 7 PM
Tonawanda Indian Reservation Historical Society,
Tonawanda Indian Community Center- Akron, NY

MAY 14th, 1 PM
Seneca Iroquois National Museum - Salamanca, NY

May 17th, 6 PM Warsaw Public Library - Warsaw, NY

AUG 9TH, 7 pm Hoss's Country Corner -2016 Author's Night- Long Lake, NY

AUG 25TH 6 PM Akwesasne Cultural Center - Hogansburg, NY

More to announce as they are confirmed.

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Bread & Butter the Murders of Polly Frisch

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